Posts by Robert Young Pelton

An In-Depth Look at Drones, Somali Reactions, and How the War May Change
Predator Drone
General Automics Aeronautical
Predator Drone

Somalia Report was the first news source to report on the US drone attacks against al-Shabaab and al-Qaeda targets from the ground last month. Other news sources quickly picked up the news, and along with official confirmation we now know that the drone war has officially come to Somalia. Drones have been used in Somalia to observe al Qaeda and al Shabaab as well as pirates but lethal strikes have not been officially reported. In October of 2009 al Shabaab insisted they had shot down a drone, causing it to crash into the sea. Not coincidently in November of that same year the U.S. officially announced the long range Reaper would be based in the Seychelles to track pirates. They continue to push it into the media as a benign observation program but downplay the anti terrorism aspect.

The most widespread and controversial use of armed drones has been in Pakistan, where US- guided UAVs have killed over 2,500 people. These attacks are documented by local journalists and the civilian casualties are mentioned but often viewed as necessary to reduce higher casualties (both enemy and friendly) caused by similar operations conducted by ground forces. The Brookings Institution estimates there may be a ratio of ten civilians killed for every targeted person in Pakistan. Bill Roggio keeps an excellent tally and breakdown of drone strikes in Pakistan showing civilian casualties at 138 civilians killed to 2018 targets or around 6%. When compared to the civilian deaths caused by terrorist attacks, direct action, air strikes or IEDs, finding a workable "targeted to civilian casualty" ratio almost becomes a moot point. Terrorists have referred to suicide bombers as their "smart bombs" the human equivalent of a drone or JDAM.

US military sources have downplayed these civilian deaths as being family members of terrorists - as if they were considered equally guilty by marriage or genetics much like terrorist groups describe civilans as justified targets by virtue of association. As a method of killing in remote hostile regions, drones are inexpensive, relatively risk-free (except to the spies on the ground) and are low risk weapons in the area of collateral damage. To help readers understand the phenomenon, Somalia Report has talked to people inside the program on condition of anonymity and will continue to provide coverage and insight on this controversial military tactic.

Small Unarmed Drones Used for Observation
Small Unarmed Drones Used for Observation
Why are drones used to kill?

Their publicized entry into Somalia is not new, but the concept of the US killing Somalis without judge or jury and the resultant civilian deaths is disturbing. Somalia Report does not support terrorism in any form and one of the side effects of drone strikes is to “terrorize the terrorists” -something that seems to be working. The drone program has been effective in terror groups: changing movements, making them fraught with concern and deepening the suspicion of everyone around them. Bin Laden's sequestering in a house in Abbottabad and shunning electronic communications was a direct result of this effectiveness, even if his demise was driven by old-fashioned human intelligence.

Predator attacks have been against clearly defined targets with a roughly calculated number of innocent victims killed alongside the targets. As the intelligence assets are paid to provide more targets and strikes become more prevalent and violent, we predict a shift in how America is viewed by Somalis in this highly impersonal and distant way of killing.

One only has to look at Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan to see the long-term effects of targeted assassination. Success can breed failure if a power wielding deadly force is viewed as being arbitrary, disconnected and self-interested. Civilian casualties in tribal and clan areas also built a groundswell of disaffection, often igniting support for terrorist groups rather than suppressing them.

The use of Predators in Somalia has been confined to high value targets, specifically men involved in the 1998 US Embassy bombings in Kenya, Tanzania (and a failed attempt in Uganda). High on the list had been three men: Abu Taha al-Sudani, backer of the 1998 US embassy bombings and a Hezbollah-trained explosives expert; Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, the man who first linked al-Qaeda with al-Shabaab; and Comoron-born Fazul Abdullah Mohammed. The latter pair were involved in the embassy bombings, the deadly car bombing attack on Israelis at the Paradise hotel in Mombasa and an attempted surface-to-air shoot down of an Israel-bound 757 in 2002 taking off from Moi airport in the same Kenyan coastal town.

Al-Qaeda, based in the Ras Kamboni to Mogadishu area, draw on support from Kenya-based operatives and the vast refugee camps that surround the Somali capital. This area has been effectively under the control of militants since the Ethiopian invasion fell apart. Although the US maintains an intelligence and special forces training presence in the region, there is no interest in deploying ground troops. AMISOM, the African Union peacekeeping force, along with Kenya and Ethiopia, are the paid proxy troops used to project US interests in the region.

Camp Lemonnier 2011
Google Earth
Camp Lemonnier 2011

Camp Lemonnier Two years ago
Google Earth
Camp Lemonnier Two years ago

The two other areas that support the hunt for terrorists are Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti and the naval presence offshore. When we first reported on the attacks in June, there was much confusion. Somalis are used to seeing jets fly over, and even helicopters come in and out of, Mogadishu. It was the lack of that aerial activity that tipped us off that the attack that occurred on June 23 in the evening in Khandal, 10 kms south of Kismayo, was a Predator attack. A second attack occurred in the city of Kismayo near the airport. This attack occurred shortly after the killing of a major al-Qaeda leader and his Kenyan counterpart on June 11 in Mogadishu, and the capture of sensitive information.

In an unusual “boots on the ground” - albeit fleeting - presence, US special operations troops landed in helicopters to remove remains and assets for confirmation of identity and further exploitation.

The operation was the first American attack there since 2009, when helicopter-borne commandos killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan. The American intelligence and military command has been reticent to conduct operations due to a lack of ground intelligence in the region, lack of robust search and rescue and potential for casualties. Search and rescue can be provided by naval forces, but typically comes out of Djibouti or Nairobi.

Currently, the US government operates small intelligence collection and training posts in Bosaso, Mogadishu and Hargeisa and works with the local governments. The waters offshore Somalia are home to some of the world’s largest battle ships and aircraft carriers, and electronic, signals and geographic intelligence collection assets, but little of this information is shared or even used due to the different mandates of the Task Forces, countries, and law enforcement agencies involved.

Somali reaction

The use of drones has so far proven divisive in Somalia, with some for and some against. The drone program is relatively new for Somali's and there have yet to be significant civilian casualties. Somalia Report found most of the people we interviewed in Mogadishu to be favorable to the concept. Keeping in mind this is a city in which thousands have been killed by indiscriminate shelling and gunfire from both AMISOM and al-Shabaab forces.

“We welcome the US operations because we think they will break al-Shabaab’s backbone,” Somali Defense Minister Abdihakim Haji Mohamud Fiqi told reporters in Mogadishu last month.

Some members of the Somali parliament have also expressed their support for the operations.

Lawmaker Abdinasir Garane Adan told Somalia Report that he believes these operations are acceptable if the Somali government is informed beforehand. “There is the question of sovereignty, the government should be informed before any action is taken,” he said. Yet others are concerned over possible civilian casualties.

“There is no need for drone attacks in Somalia, because al-Shabaab can be defeated with only troops on the ground,” lawmaker Mohamed Hussein Afarale told Somalia Report, “There are no hideouts and mountains like Afghanistan. Surgical operations targeting senior known terrorist leaders, like the one that killed Saleh Nabhan are acceptable.”

Sheikh Omar Sheikh Abdulkadir Adan, a senior leader of the pro-government Ahlu Sunna wal Jamaa militia, welcomed the use of drones, saying anyone who kills al-Shabaab – be they “human or devil” – should be applauded.

Many ordinary Somalis said they were happy if foreign fighters were being killed, but significant numbers are worried that non-combatants will suffer should strikes continue.

“It is my country that is being interfered and it is my people who are being killed. I cannot be happy with that,” said Hussein Ali, a bus driver who lives in Mogadishu. “This is good for nothing. It will not liberate our country,” said Mohamed Ali, a former soldier. “It will only kill people at funerals and weddings, like Afghanistan.”

Human rights groups have also expressed concern. Ali Yasin, executive director of Focus Community Concern and Advocacy, says human casualties are inevitable.

“The drone attacks are guided by technology and they will not, of course, always hit the targeted people alone. Civilians are bound to die or get injured,” he said. “These sorts of attacks must be avoided.” While al-Shabaab has been moving its leaders around as a result of the strikes, one of their commanders, who spoke to Somalia Report on condition of anonymity, said that drones would not change anything and accused the US of cowardice.

“We are ready to kill them with our flying bones (suicide attacks)," he said. "Why don’t they land and sacrifice lives if they are ready to die for their cause?”

What Are Drones?

Predator Drone PIlot and Signals Officer in Balad Iraq
Predator Drone PIlot and Signals Officer in Balad Iraq

Drones are aircraft that are remotely piloted. They are much like radio-controlled aircraft, but with exponentially multiplied technology, cost and sophisticated communications systems. The first drone attack was in August 26, 1859 when the Austrians attacked Venice with unmanned balloons loaded with explosives. The Japanese used a similar method to attack the west coast of the US during World War II.

In recent history, drones became the answer to the collateral damage caused by the death, injury or capture of pilots by the enemy for propaganda purposes. The US began to officially fly drones in 1959. The 1962 capture of U2 pilot Francis Gary Powers over Russia accelerated the program and the Vietnam-era POWs and the general cost of losing a well-trained pilot created a demand for unmanned aircraft in reconnaissance and combat. Guided missiles, smart bombs and even satellite imagery cannot replace the skills of an experienced pilot in real-time decision making. In Vietnam, 3,435 UAV missions were flown, with 554 UAVs lost. By contrast, during the south-east Asian conflict, 5,000 U.S. airmen had been killed and over 1,000 more were captured or missing in action.

In addition to saving the lives of air crew and avoiding demoralizing publicity for the enemy, the drone’s utility is somewhere between a guided missile and an observation blimp, providing a combination of speed, stability and time aloft to give high ground to military and intelligence units. They can be as small as a tiny helo or as large as a 747 if needed. Drones are not necessarily cheaper. An F-15 can cost $30 million, while a Predator has a sticker price of only $5 million ($10.5 million for a Reaper). But drones require a massive ground-, air- and space-based network, as well as a remote pilot, to function. Both contractors and the military make the drone program work and the only limited factor is the availability of trained pilots. The Air Force JSTAR communications systems allows drones to take off, operate and land anywhere there is a ground link using the shared ground command network originally designed to support the U2 program.

Drones are mostly observation aircraft, locally flown by the military and operated much like the RQ2, a 14-foot long drone that has been in use since 1988. Drones like the RQ2 are launched from a catapult off of ships or towed trailers. It provides overview for gunnery observation and "eyes on target" when identifying enemy location. There are also a host of smaller observation drones that cannot carry weapons and can literally be launched by throwing into the air like a glider and controlled by common radio frequency controls.

But the large lethal Predator drones are in a class by themselves. The mainstay of the Somalia program is the MQ series made in San Diego by General Atomics, developed in the mid 90’s.

The MQ1 Predator is a turboprop with a wingspan of 55 feet. First designed in 1996, the aircraft can be remotely piloted from the deserts of Nevada, crew loaded in Djibouti and fire two laser-guided Hellfire missiles 400 miles away. It can fly for up to 454 miles, at speed of up to 135mph, and at altitudes of up to 25,000ft. Depending on where it is launched and payload, the smallest of the Predator family can stay aloft for half a day. Officially the manufacturer says there are around 250 MQ1 Predators in operation worldwide but in reality there are over 400. The biggest limitations are range and payload due to its original mission as a light, cheap observation platform.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.
MQ 9 Reaper or Avenger

The MQ9 Reaper is a bigger/better modification of the Predator concept that first went into active service in 2009. Although official sources insist the name Reaper is really a nickname for "Remotely Piloted Vehicles/Aircraft or RPV/RPA, the Reaper’s ghoulish nickname reflects its role as a vehicle designed for destruction and assassinations. The manufacturer’s official name is Avenger which also reflects the real goal of these lethal aircraft.

In Somalia, the Reaper's 3,682 mile range and seven hardpoints with 3000 lb external payload make it the ideal platform for targeting al-Qaeda in Mogadishu and even pirates in the Indian Ocean (a concept being considered by the U.S. military). The Reaper can carry fourteen AGM-114 Hellfires or a combination of four missiles and two 500lb GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided smart bombs. For harder targets, the 500 lb (230 kg) GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) can also be loaded.

The Predator C will be able to launch from carriers and have even more power and range. To be fair, both MQ models are in current use as civilian, non-lethal platforms for NASA and US Homeland Security. They are even being used in the drug war in Mexico.

RQ-45A Global Hawk
RQ-45A Global Hawk
There are also purely high-end observation drones like the Global Hawk has a wingspan of 116 feet. Designed as a reconnaissance aircraft, it can fly for a day and a half, reach speeds of 400mph and stay aloft at 60,000 feet. This newer vehicle is designed to track convoys or moving targets over long periods of time.

Based on the direction in development drones are getting larger, traveling further, carrying more munitions and fuel and covering more territory. There is much talk about tiny drones but the really dollars are being spent on getting smart munitions into denied territory. Exactly where terrorist groups operate and train in. Conversely the targets have learned to move indoors, stop using cel phones and mix among the population. This kind of pressure has even made the al Shabaab spokesperson keep his phone off and adopt angry when called.

Drones cannot work in a vacuum, they also require informants on the ground to provide direction and identification. There are also dozens of manned observation, SIGINT, ELINT and specialty aircraft available along with far flung "fusion cels" that work in conjunction with drones to provide intelligence to the mission commander.

How Do Drones Work?

Currently the war on terrorism in the Horn of Africa is operated out of Nairobi and Djibouti with a complex network of support nodes across the world. A UAV may be piloted from Nellis Air Force Base (AFB) in Nevada, USA, coordinate with an intelligence cell in Bagram, Afghanistan, tap into data stored in Nairobi, coordinate with a carrier launched ELINT platform, be monitored in Washington and be hunting a target in Kismayo. All with coordinating and support elements from aircraft, ships, fusion centers and even portable viewing screens used by Special Operations teams providing “eyes on” confirmation of the target.

Drones are unique in that they lower risk and cost. Deploying a manned aircraft requires a “long tail”, the support network that recruits, trains, deploys, feeds, protects, repairs, schedules, rescues and supports aviation and intelligence-gathering activities. The predators were initially used to gather intelligence, providing an “eye in the sky” to identify and follow suspects with the need for dangerous insertion of teams. The weaponizing of drones began in the CIA, who had for years modified aircraft like Pilateus Porters and Cessnas to carry weapons in low-intensity conflicts. The lethality of drones and their operation in foreign countries and against foreign citizens originally required presidential findings to allow assassination, but now the killing of targets has simply become a tactical tool against what the US considers to be combatants.

Somalia is just one of many countries where lethal drones are used. Currently the media reports that drones fly over Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Somalia. In reality, the kill chain for terrorists, whether it be to support proxy armies or pass on real-time intelligence to foreign intelligence operations, include drones in dozens of regions around the world. Currently the drone program in Somalia is operated by Americans to kill al-Qaeda members. That may soon change as official press releases insist that members of al Shabaab are working more closely with al Qaeda in Yemen. A July 7th Reuters story now insists that pirates are providing financial support to al Shabaab which further increases potential targets. This announcement came a year after the al Shabaab July 11th attack in Kampala that killed 74 people in Uganda.

The publicly announced "covert" CIA drone program in Yemen was supposed to start this summer but internal chaos has stalled that plan. The U.S. Navy will be officially testing and using armed drones in the Indian Ocean sometime later this year. The more the United States can link Al Shabaab members by cel, financial or personal communications to known al Qaeda members in Yemen the more targets that are created for drone strikes. This also means that the drone program and new targets will part of a coordinated regional activity. So more drones, more targets, more drone users and less political risk all spell expansion for the use of lethal drone strikes in and around the Horn of Africa.

Geographers will note that the MQ 1's range is only 675 miles but the MQ 9's range of 1150 to 3600 miles and 14 to 28 hours aloft (depending on payload) makes it ideal for the Horn of Africa. The MQ9's cruising speed of 230mph means it can be on a target in three hours, stay on station for eight hours and make the return trip.

The distance from Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti to Mogadishu is 706 miles or 1412 round trip, Mahe in the Seychelles is 841 miles or 1682 round trip, Nairobi is 633 miles or 1266, 572 miles from Dire Dawa and 576 from Mombassa. All of these airfields, air and carrier-launched aircraft, cruise missiles, refueled fighter bombers, shipboard helos and the soon to be deployed Predator C drone designed for aircraft carriers like the USS Enterprise put Al Qaeda and Al Shabaab directly in reach of U.S. revenge.

Despite the recent deadly modifications first created by the CIA, unmanned or remotely piloted aircraft are everywhere and ubiquitous. They can be military, CIA or civilian satellites gathering visual or electronic data, suitcase sized radio-controlled aircraft, blimps used to monitor neighborhoods or even tracking chips used to follow people. AMISOM is scheduled to receive smaller forward observation UAVs as part of a US program. Even though the UAVs are too small to be armed, they can also be used to target al-Shabaab positions or movements with lethal effect.

The current tactic for "Fix, Find and Finish" approach began in Bosnia when Navy SEALs used triangulation of mobile phone towers to provide fairly exact location of wanted war criminals via their cel phone communications. All that is needed is a good number and permissible access to the mobile phone system. This expanded after 9/11 to include building networks of al-Qaeda and their supporters along with their financial backers. What was missing was the ability to visually locate a suspect without inserting teams or hiring ground assets. The UAV was ideal.

Mobile phone communications are monitored to find exact locations of people, drones are then positioned to provide “deadly persistence” as they hover in shifts waiting for the emergence of the suspect. If the suspect is confirmed as the target, lethal force is used sometimes with ground crews dropped in quickly by helicopter to exploit any intelligence from the scene.

When the CIA used armed Predators in Afghanistan, and later Yemen, the resounding lack of outcry (versus use of night raids or air strikes) pushed the UAV program into high gear. The lack of outcry, surgical nature and chilling effect of the attack encourages the further exploitation of armed drones. Commanders of al-Qaeda are considered combatants and can be killed where found. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and the CIA’s global mandate do not require coordination or permission from the host country for targeted killing.

How Does The Drone Program Work In Somalia?

Drone Firing Hellfire Missile
Drone Firing Hellfire Missile
The drones used in Somalia can be launched from runways, aircraft carriers and even temporary air fields. They are operated by a pilot, a sensor operator and a mission commander. Depending on the mission, intelligence elements may also have a direct feed. The decision to fire a weapon is made by a mission commander, but recently the conversion of the old U2 project into the drone program has added 4000 players and five far-flung operational nodes leading to overlap and often confusion as people from Korea to Central California get involved. Recently two Marines were killed by a Predator strike just outside Kabul, Afghanistan. Review of the tape later clearly showed them to be friendlies, according to a source who works inside the program.

Right now Camp Lemonnier is the home of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) where drones are serviced and launched. It was established in the spring of 2001 as part of the effort to track terrorists and provide a forward-operating base for special operations troops. There are about 1,200 contractors in addition to the 3,000 troops. There is an intelligence gathering section that does not publish its manpower or equipment. The mix of multinational special operations troops, proximity to Yemen, Somalia and other terrorist bases have resulted in a number of “wins” for this rarely visited hot spot.

In 2008, AFRICOM took over command, but JSOC elements remain under the command of SOCOM and the primary use of the facility is to launch rapid attacks on al-Qaeda members in East Africa, the Gulf of Aden region. They can coordinate with fusion centers, air and sea assets to quickly pull together a mission that often involves French air assets and US helicopters.

It is important to remember that the US military operates both lethal and non-lethal drones in Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. The CIA operates drones in regions where terrorist or drug-related activity takes place. The Navy also operates drones to track pirates and money movement. In some places, like the US and Mexico, drones are used in a multidimensional capability to track the border, smuggling, drug cartels and criminal activity.

Short history of the drone war

The drones first "public" appearance was in 2004 and again in the fall of 2009, when the MQ9 Reapers were deployed to the region to gather intelligence on pirates. They were soon flying over the Indian Ocean and coast of Somalia to look for pirate ships. In this observational role they also work alongside more traditional P3 Orion aircraft based out of Djibouti. The drones were based temporarily out of Mahé in the Seychelles at the main airport. This was an experiment unrelated to the 13 year hunt for al Qaeda since the Embassy bombings and is now a de facto U.S. drone base. The drone and counter terrorism program works out of Kenya, Yemen and Djibouti.

Timeline: Use of drones in warfare, and build up to Somalia use

The use of drones and the targeting of al-Qaeda in Somalia must be reviewed against the strategy and developments in the global "War on Terror". The U.S. has an extraordinary choice of weapons at its disposal and an equally staggering list of government agencies. The message sent by armed drones is simple. Surgical lethality with risk aversion both in human terms and politically. The minimal footprint and stand off strategy clearly signals that the United States has little to no interest in adding Somalia to the current list of conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and Iraq.

December 9, 1992 – US Marines land in Somalia, the first of 35,000 international soldiers sent in to stabilize and help Somalia after a civil war killed 300,000 Somalis. President Bill Clinton said at the time, “I respect and appreciate President Bush's desire to see the ground forces out of there by sometime in mid-January, and it may work out that that can be done. But the issue is whether the United States will have to keep these ground forces there longer than a few weeks. I think that depends on how long it takes to accomplish the mission."

March 26, 1994 – The last US soldier leaves Somalia and the legacy of “Black Hawk Down” becomes a thematic reason for America not putting troops on the ground in the country, and a propaganda victory for US opponents. The death of 18 Americans is blamed on Clinton’s refusal to deploy proper air assets, like the AC 130 gunship specifically designed to protect special operations troops under fire

2000 - In the spring of 2000, the CIA group humorously called "The Manson Family” for its number of female analysts, led by Mike Scheurer, pushes for modifications to the Predator to find and kill Bin Laden, specifically to find him while at Tarnak Farms, near Jalalabad. Cofer Black is a proponent, but George Tenet sees potential problems. On September 4, 2001, just before the 9/11 attacks, Tenet warns, "They should do so with their eyes wide open, fully aware of the potential fallout if there were a controversial or mistaken strike." Armed versions of the Predator are shipped to Uzbekistan's K2 airfield by September 16, 2011, but Uzbekistan initially does not allow overflights by armed aircraft. Finally Uzbekistan authorizes lethally armed flights on October 7, and the first armed Predator mission is launched that day.

September 12, 2001 – After the US is attacked by Saudis and Yemenis, trained in the US, coordinated from Afghanistan and funded from the Gulf Region, and loathe to deploy ground troops in Pakistan, the US opts to use special operations, Air Force forward controllers, proxy armies, drones and airpower to hunt al-Qaeda. Little to no intelligence exists inside Afghanistan and all covert operations have previously been launched from Pakistan.

November 14, 2001 - The first high-level target is killed by an unmanned drone. Egyptian Mohammed Atef, al-Qaeda's military commander, is killed by an MQ-1 Predator near Kabul.

November 4, 2002 - The first direct US strike against the al-Qaeda network outside Afghanistan is carried out by a CIA predator. Hellfire missiles are used to kill six men suspected of being involved in the bombing of the USS Cole. Killed are Abu Ali Al Harethi, the planner of the attack, and Kamal Derwish, an American citizen associated with al-Qaeda.

2004 – The US begins the Shamsi-based Predator and Reaper program against Pakistan-based militants and al-Qaeda members. To date, over 2,500 have been killed.

2006 – The US military creates the “Long War” strategy, encouraging global attacks on terrorists. The quadrennial military review highlights Camp Lemonnier as "a prime example of distributed operations and economy of force". The report predicts the growth in terrorist activity and calls for expanded use of drones to eliminate targets without the need for ground troops.

August 31, 2007 - U.S. officially announced the deployment of the MQ 9 "Reaper" aka Predator B. A larger, longer range drone for use in Iraq and Afghanistan.

January 7, 2007 - Ethiopia provides intelligence that al-Qaeda suspects including Tariq Abdullah and Aden Hashi Eyrow are in a convoy en route to Ras Kamboni, a embarkation point in the very southern part of Somalia . The large convoy of vehicles was spotted by an unarmed Predator but a gunship was brought in to destroy the vehicles. Eyrow was wounded and Abdullah was not in the convoy

January 23, 2007 – Another attack occurs just inside the Kenya/Somalia border on an al-Qaeda resupply convoy near Waldena. During follow up operations against convoys, US Special Operations forces learn they have killed Tariq Abdullah.

June 1, 2007 - A US Warship attacks al-Qaeda members, killing eight. They had disembarked from boats and sought refuge in caves along the ocean front.

May 1, 2008 - US aircraft or a ship offshore launch a cruise missile attack against Aden Hashi Eyrow and Sheikh Muhyadin Omar, who are sleeping in a house in the Dhusamareb region in central Somalia. Eleven people are killed, two of them the targeted AS leaders, five of them civilians. Four Somalis are injured.

September 15, 2009 - A raid is launched inside Mogadishu to kill Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, the then leader of al-Qaeda in Somalia. The Kenyan was wanted for the attack on the 2002 Mombasa Paradise hotel and attempted shoot down of Arkia Israel Airlines Boeing 757 plane taking off from Mombasa’s Moi International Airport

September 19, 2009 - Al Shabaab claims they have shot down an American drone that later crashes in the ocean of Kismayo. The U.S. Navy insists that all its drones have been recovered.

October 19, 2009 - The U.S. Navy insists that MQ 9 Reapers will be flown from Mahé to monitor pirate activity

December 11, 2009 - Saleh al Somali is targeted and killed in Aspangla, near the main town of Miramshah in North Waziristan. Saleh was involved in the 1993 Black Hawk Down episode and was considered to be al-Qaeda’s operations planner and recruiter of Somalis living overseas.

March 30, 2010 -The U.S. publicly announces that there are no U.S. advisors in Somalia . "This is not an American conflict," said Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson. "It will be up to the Somalis to ultimately resolve this conflict. The U.S., along with others in the international community, can contribute in a supporting role, which we do and acknowledge, but not to become directly engaged in any of the conflict on the ground there."

July 11, 2010 - Al Shabaab detonates two bombs that kills 74 Ugandans watching the World Cup at the Kyadondo Rugby Club and the Ethiopian Village Restaurant in Kampala.. In a public statement al Shabaab said, "We wage war against the 6,000 collaborators; they have received their response." referring to the Ugandan soldiers hired by AMISOM to protect the TFG.

June 23, 2011 - US drones strike al-Shabaab camps in Kismayo, Somalia killing al Shabaab commander Ibrahim Hajj Jamaal "Afghani" and wounding Bilal El Berjawi

June 29, 2011 - US strike al-Shabaab targets in Lower Juba, Somalia but questions remain over whether these were drones or helicopters.

June 15, 2011 - Yemen admits there has been one drone strike a day in June Officially there is no war in Yemen.

June 29 2011 - Drones fire on al-Shabaab leaders, wounding one. The men were considered to have direct links and recent communications to Anwar al-Awlaqi about attacks on US assets.

July 7, 2011 - Reuters provides no sourcing but specific amounts paid on specific ship ransoms that were allegedly paid to al Shabaab from pirate groups. This is published a year after the bombings in Uganda.

Eye in the sky
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.
Eye in the sky

The final elimination of the ring leaders of the embassy bombings is not the end of the drone program. The recent intelligence exploitation of Fazul Abdullah Mohammed personal effects may have created a short term burst of lethal activity but that will be overshadowed by increased deployment of drones into the region, better intelligence gathering from more drones resulting in increased strikes. There is no public list of High Value Targets, no finite estimated of terrorists and no clear bottom to America's publicly stated urge to link al Shabaab with al Qaeda in Yemen. Given the lack of public outcry over the use of lethal drones Somalia Report estimates that this recent activity signals this is the beginning of the drone war.

Attack of the Bombastics
The recent article in the Nation by Jeremy Scahill has brought a familiar Iraq and Afghanistan story to Somalia. Daring western journalists penetrating dangerous territory to discover sites even locals don't know exist in florid terms that would have made Stanley or Livingstone blush.

The short of it is that Jeremy Scahill has claimed discovery of a secret prison. He may be part of a trending influx of western journalists now proclaiming their arrival with bombastic terms and seeking flamboyant scoops. In June, Peter Greste, writing for the Telegraph, proclaimed himself " the first Western journalist to truly penetrate Somalia's badlands" and now Scahill twitters his book jacket quality photo heralding his unembedded status to the world. Although he insists he was there to investigate targeted killings (he was in the wrong city) on his first trip to Somalia, Scahill seemed more eager to promote his visit than any factual data as he distributed a pre-article photo of himself wearing sunglasses and crouching, apparently to avoid sniper fire, while his bemused Somali guards stand around and look down on him.

To be fair, western journalists in Somalia are rare compared to Afghanistan or Iraq. Most have to badger their editors to gamble on a new angle as well as justify the high cost and risk to hire security. Then they must endure the long flight to Mogadishu, the memorable heat and spartan conditions to cover what might turn out to be a non-story.

Most choose to do the AU/African Union peacekeeping (AMISOM) tour, and if they are unused to the amount of flying projectiles Mogadishu's residents live with on a regular basis, they do a fair bit of crouching and gesticulating about the dangers and business of covering the war rather than providing insight on the actual fighting. The Beeb sends in a blue kevlar-swaddled correspondent on a regular basis, but even the experienced Andrew Harding dipped into the familiar cinematic intro before getting down to reporting. Somali journalists aren't usually given the luxury of explaining just how dangerous it is.

Due to the amount of uncertainty beyond Mogadishu's greenish zone, most of the media coverage of Somalia is done from the cooler, greener hills of Nairobi. For those who can't convince their employers to send them to Mog, there always is the Kenyan-based NGO dog and pony's to Dadaab refugee camp or better yet a barely comprehensible but much cheaper sat phone interview with one of the many chatty pirate spokespeople. If you can't convince a publication to front the dough...well you can always just show up as a tourist if you need some free publicity.

The bottom line is that for most belt-tightening media organizations, Somalia is just too expensive and of little interest to the western news outlets. So if they are paying the tab you better come back with a scoop. Failing that you better have some good promo reel stuff for your next assignment. In the meantime, the real coverage of Somalia is left to underpaid and under-appreciated Somali journalists. Somalia is dangerous for western journalists and reporters should be prepared. Kidnapping incidents involving Amanda Lindhout and Nigel Brennan remain in the profession's situational awareness. The freelancers went to visit a Mogadishu area refugee camp in August of 2008 and found themselves hostages as they returned. In the north a British writer and Spanish photographer were grabbed in November of 2008 by former president's bodyguards hired to protect them in Bosaso. Both events inspired books from each group. Although things have changed since 2008, a trickle of journos do their best to stimulate interest in the region but with little success. So Somalis welcome the investment of time and energy by any foreign journalist and will share the risks – if the goal is to provide awareness of real and meaningful events.

Secret and Torture Allegations

Google Map of Airport
Google Map of Airport
So back to the latest visit by a fustian foreign freelancer who alleges that he has discovered a secret jail and a secret airport facility. Somalia Report's research suggests that Jeremy Scahill did not visit either facility since the jail is the lower level of a well known government center and the other facility is a "sprawling walled compound" at the airport, otherwise generally called Camp Halane in the oceanfront Medina section about a kilometer away from the terminal. Based on our discussions with Somalis, these two facilities appear to be a mystery only to Scahill. In his self-promotional efforts after the article was published he now maintains these facilities are "the worst kept secret in Mogadishu". It begs the question if after a couple of days the writer himself learns that a secret site is not secret, why did the Nation even bother running the article? Why exactly didn't he visit these well known, unknown sites? If Scahill's goal was to investigate US-targeted killings, how exactly was he going to do that in ten days and from Mogadishu? Just investigating al-Shabaab's targeted killings, let alone US killings, is a full-time task for this publication. But asking rhetorical questions is playing the lazy journo game. The bottom line is there appears to be no scoop.

The presence of the CIA (and other intelligence employees from other countries) has never been secretive nor even hidden from the world. Anyone who knows of the 1998 bombing attacks against the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania has been keenly aware of the aggressive program to capture or kill the East Africans and global jihadi network behind it. The 2006 Ethiopian invasion to dislodge the Islamic Courts was a very public, secret operation. Before that if you hadn't heard of special operations troops supported by the OGA in Somalia during Black Hawk Down then you may have been in a secret jail for three decades. In short, ever since the Agency publicly threw its glove down in Afghanistan in late fall of 2001 they have maintained a very frank, public profile of its aggressive agenda: Find terrorists, support governments who hunt terrorists, and use whatever means necessary to bring them to justice.

There are about 20 cleared American employees that work around the base near the airport. There are also many contractors who support the UN operations who live there. At one point the mayor of Mogadishu complained there were around 30 foreign contracting companies based at the airport. There is an unknown larger group of TFG-related staff and an even larger group of "assets" in the cities of Mogadishu and Kismayo who support intel activities. Along the border and in the midst of the fighting is a larger world of Ethiopian, ASWJ and supportive clans who work together to oust al-Shabaab. Usually Somalis are the ones who help the Somali intelligence service track down al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab, suspected killers and potential terrorists. There are also training and intel gathering bases in Somaliland and Puntland. Neither are secret or that controversial. Once again Somalia is a known haven for insurgent groups, kidnappers and individuals known to have killed civilians and government officials. The intelligence network goes back to the early 90's when the US recruited Somalis to support international efforts to protect international aid for Somalis.

Besides the gilding of his non-discoveries, the point Scahill tries to make in his original is that there is torture going on and that extraordinary rendition of a Kenyan into Somalia was done so that the victim could be interrogated by CIA officers. In response to Scahill's accusation, the CIA publicly stated that they had been involved in some interrogations. But if Scahill's logic holds that the Agency has its own fleet of planes and has no problem renditioning suspects, there is no need for government employees to journey all the way to Mogadishu to question detainees. Journalistic logic would dictate that, like most prison inmates who claim innocence, the suspect should have been grilled a little harder. Even Scahill backpedaled on this unproven claim in subsequent interviews stating flatly that he does not have the journalistic accepted proof of torture.

Scahill accuses the CIA of torture based on the singular allegations of 25ish Kenyan named Ahmed Abdullahi Hassan, who apparently has legal representation via a human rights group and a Kenya legal team (directly conflicting his claims of not having a lawyer). We are supposed to believe that this poor man was snatched from Nairobi, endured months of torture and of course, is innocent. Scahill is a long-time champion of the common man and typically chooses contractors, corporations, the wealthy or government as the black-hatted abusers. In this case, he may be picking the wrong fight. His other anonymous sources to engender outrage at Hassan's treatment sound no more convincing than the usual qat-fueled chatter that passes for news in Bakara's market stalls. The troubling question of the CIA engaging in secret prisons, extrajudicial rendition and torture either directly or via proxies is an important story worthy of much more effort than expended in this attempt.

As for his claims of torture in the newly discovered secret prison: "I don't have any information I can report that there is torture taking place". So The Nation has reversed their own claims of torture and can't quite figure out where that prison is. Furthermore, Scahill's conversation with Hassan is never clearly sourced nor do we clearly understand the genesis of his outrage. It appears even to the casual reader that Hassan might be exactly the kind of killer we would want snatched, bagged and confined until authorities fully comprehend his agenda.

Al-Shabaab is a group known for its cold blooded murder of civilians in Somalia and Uganda. Their brutal treatment of Somalis and constant threats to kill civilians and westerners...just like Jeremy Scahill... should be part of the focus of any crusading human rights journo obsessed with targeted killings. This does not mean that we should support the abuse of innocent civilians by government, but it means that Scahill seems to infer that people in prison are being abused by the CIA when it appears (based on our direct conversations and photos of the TFG soldiers arrested for killing civilians incarcerated there) it might actually be the people inside the prison who were abusing people. Hassan specifically was grabbed in Eastleigh in Nairobi in the spring of 2009 and coincidently his alleged Yemeni/Kenyan al-Qaeda boss, Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, was killed just outside of Mogadishu by special operations teams only a few months later. Hassan apparently lost a leg fighting in Mogadishu. It seems Hassan may not be the poor victim Scahill is making him out to be.

Somalia Report invites Scahill to apply equal zeal in investigating the jailing and torture of elders and civilians by al-Shabaab and any number of unsolved murders on innocent civilians by this group.

Based on the casualty list from the recent airstrikes in Somalia and around the world, it would seem that the CIA, JSOC and even TFG forces might be killing some of the right people and that al-Shabaab might be killing many of the wrong people.

CIA right or wrong?

It is an uncomfortable position (for readership reasons) for the media to support intelligence activities, military violence and even subterfuge by government agencies. It is also equally uncomfortable (for safety reasons) to send journos to tell the truth about groups like al-Shabaab, which have been publicly and violently opposed to aid organizations, journalism, western influence and even hand-to-mouth commerce by ordinary Somalis. Even a casual visitor to Mogadishu will not find many Somalis who support the use of al-Shabaab's IED's, public executions or amputations. Scahill's report is remarkably free of candid conversations with ordinary Somalis about the full spectrum of abuse they endure. Where exactly is the Nation's outrage at the single most violent and abusive group in Somalia?

Somalia Report sent its journalists out to see if they could support or add to the claims made by Scahill's after his ten-day junket. The compound at the airport was the easiest. There is an intelligence support and training compound at the airport. There are others around the city, including one a few yards from his "secret prison". These facilities are only secret if Scahill doesn't know about it.

There are a number of Americans and foreigners working at the airport. It is the UN that is now enjoying new facilities recently built. A quick view of Google Maps shows two tiny hangers blanked out and recent maps prepared by Somalia Report show a large contractor compound. More recent satellite photos are available from vendors like Ikonos and even photos by our journalists. Even Scahill insists he could see the facility from his landing aircraft. So could it be that this facility is not secret?

There is a contingent of about two dozen Americans that work with the Somali intelligence service who try to get information on terrorist activity using direct investigations and paid assets. The French are active as well and Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, off shore air and navy along with JSOC related assets in Kenyan bases provide support for logistics, electronic eavesdropping and intelligence. Once again, recent Predator and air strikes in the south are clear indicators that there is an active intelligence and support network at work in Somalia. Directly contradicting Scahill's follow-up claim that there isn't a single intelligence asset amongst al-Shabaab.

What about the secret prison?

Prison Entry
Prison Entry

The Somali Deputy National Security and Interior Minister was the first to downplay the issue saying that there is nothing like a CIA run underground prison. They are correct. Yes there is a prison but it is not secret and it is below the presentation hall on the west side of Villa Somalia making it both above and below ground due to the hilly nature of Mogadishu. The government building houses the TFG, AMISOM soldiers, a clinic and vendors. There is a crude dummy out front to draw al-Shabaab sniper fire, and about a dozen soldiers sitting around in the shade chatting. When Somalia Report visited the prison there were TFG soldiers being brought in for murdering civilians. Once again it is the government prison within the government compound and neither secret or unapproachable. Scahill could have easily visited the prison to check out his claims.

Secret Compounds?

Ibrahim Isaak Yarow, the deputy minister, is the most senior TFG official to address the issue with Somalia Report complaining that it is hard to access the airport, and more so the area in question. Passengers who fly out must wait while a crane lifts a concrete barrier to let them pass, inside private security employees from Uganda operate the x-ray machines and airport security. With a history of suicide bombers directly targeting TFG and western support facilities it is understandable that they are difficult to access but Scahill's bragging of his un-embedded status and clear agenda, it would logically make it difficult for him to officially visit many sensitive locations. Somalia Report regularly visits prisons, government offices, NGO's, foreign contract sites with the understanding that criticism is allowed but please do not publicly provide the ability for an attack by a hostile party. Scahill seems intent more on exposing exact location of facilities where Somalis are trained and housed and then criticizing the donors for not keeping them secret.

There are several new buildings being erected within the airport compound that are meant to house UN offices and other international relief aid centers. The UN was under increasing pressure to move their employees to Mogadishu. There has been an influx of contractors, notably employees of Tim Spicer's Aegis, which provides security for the UN, deminers, trainers and support staff. Clearly security is a major concern and access reflects that need to protect lives. There is however a open invitation to accredited media by the UN, but not by intelligence agencies. Scahill's follow-up fact checking with the Agency (who confirmed that they sometimes support interrogations) was met with twitter outrage: "Now the CIA is just straight up lying about my Somalia story".

Surely even the most neophyte journalist understands that a clandestine agency is not in the business of providing open access to classified and sensitive sites. Scahill's inability to actually locate his secret prisons or buttress his accusations of torture with fact do not equal being right. Nor does the CIA's acknowledgment of their support of Somali intelligence activities make them wrong.

"2011 has witnessed many Americans coming to Somalia and we are always told that they are here on the behalf of the UN," a senior airport security official told Somalia Report.

"They are all welcomed by AMISOM and are taken to the AMISOM Halane base camp. From there we have no idea where they vanish to," added the source.

As for Scahill's defense of his accusations: "The story is 100% true".

Major Famine Relief Agencies Listed By Group
Relief Supplies
@Somalia Report
Relief Supplies

After requests to clarify al-Shabaab's stance on NGO and relief inside Somalia, the group provided Somalia Report with a list of NGOs they banned from conducting operations. A quick scan of the list confirms that it is essentially the "heavy lifters" in the region including groups the UN, international charities and a smattering of Christian groups that have a well-founded reputation for quick and efficient reaction to crises.

This creates a very similar situation to the 1998 drought in Afghanistan, when the Taliban began to harass and threaten western NGOs (including the UN) to direct the millions of dollars they received directly to Taliban coffers. Al-Shabaab's decision to deny aid to Somalis is partly because of the groups' clearly stated religious and anti-government affiliation. Some of it is because some of these groups simply will not pay the extortion demands and some is based on the absolute illegality of giving funds to a recognized terrorist group.

It is customary for aid groups and local NGOs to work directly with regional powerbrokers including hiring gunmen, paying transit or road tax to checkpoint czars, and if needed looking the other way as large portions of their relief supplies vanish into warlord's warehouses or pilfering mobs.

In the case of the Taliban in the late 80's, the UN fought back by simply shining a harsh light on the Islamic militia's brutal methods and misogynist agenda. The stories, films and photos then supported the logic of retribution and backlash after 9/11.

In the wake of recent targeted strikes, the Islamic group cites "spying" as their main concern, but al-Shabaab also fully understands that the more access and scrutiny they fall under, the more tenuous their already slippery grip on power in southern Somalia will become.

On July 6, al-Shabaab's spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage said that they were forming a committee to coordinate aid and that "muslims or non-muslims" could have access to the areas they controlled, sparking suspicion among the NGO community. Then on Thursday, the same spokesperson caused confusion by telling a local radio station that the previous bans from 2009 and 2010 were still in effect. He also challenged the recent declaration of famine.

"We say is totally, 100% wrong and it is baseless propaganda," he said. "Yes there is drought, but the conditions are not as bad as they say. They have another objective and it wouldn't surprise us if they were politicizing the situation."

A member of a major aid organization called the ban "frustrating" but indicated that behind the scenes negotiations are taking place to overcome the most recent political posturing by al Shabaab and bring relief to desperate Somalis within areas under their control.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: We have removed the list of banned organizations until we receive further clarification from al-Shabaab. The list included some organizations that still operate in al-Shabaab areas and others that stopped working voluntarily, either permanently or temporarily. Somalia Report apologizes for this error, and will come back with correct information when we get it.)

Al-Shabaab has an office with the impressive name of "Harakat Al-Shabaab Al-Mujahideen Department of Political Affairs and Regional Administrations". They issue written and verbal proclamations on activities, primarily in the Bay and Bakool regions, where al-Shabaab has control. The regulating body was created on July 20, 2009. Its first act was to ban some of the best known humanitarian relief agencies in the world:

"1. This is the official announcement of the establishment of The Office for Supervising the Affairs of Foreign Agencies. This office has been set up to coordinate all dealings with NGOs and foreign agencies and to fully monitor them.

It is mandatory upon all NGOs and foreign agencies operating in Somalia to immediately contact The Office for Supervising the Affairs of Foreign Agencies in their area. They must contact the Administration of the area that they are currently operating in and they will give out the address for the new office. The NGOs and foreign agencies will be informed of the conditions and restrictions on their work and on how their work may continue. Any NGO or foreign agency found to be working with an agenda against the Somali Muslim population and/or against the establishment of an Islamic State will be immediately closed and dealt with according to the evidence found.

2. As of (20/7/2009), a number of NGOs and foreign agencies currently operating in Somalia will be completely closed down and considered enemies of Islam and Muslims. The current list is as follows:


This decision was finally concluded after thorough research and due to an ongoing investigation into the actions and motives of many of the NGOs and foreign agencies currently in operation. The above foreign agencies have been found to be working against the benefits of the Somali Muslim population and against the establishment of an Islamic State in Somalia. Some of the findings include evidence of training and support for the apostate goverment and the training of its troops. The research also found material support being given to the apostate militias in the border regions in hopes of destabilizing the regions and disrupting the safety and security that the Islamic administrations of those regions have accomplished by the permission of Allah. On top of that, it has not been hidden that over $250 million dollars have been gathered in Brussels on April 23, 2009 from various infidel countries and donors for the crusader Amisom troops to continue their mission of oppression and massacre of the Somali Muslim people.

Previously, CARE and IMC, two American agencies, were closed down as evidence was found of participation in activities against Islam. Proof was uncovered of spying for and aiding the intelligence agencies of the enemies of Islam. In addition, as it is well known, those agencies assisted in the assassination of Sheikh Maalim Adam ‘Aayro.

Allah is our Protector and our Sustainer. Department of Political Affairs and Regional Administrations

In November, the group decided to issue an 11-point directive to aid agencies, which included not promoting democracy, laying off all females, not taking Sundays off and removing logos from vehicles. They also demanded that the WFP purchase food from local farmers.

In December of the same year, the islamic group banned UN Mine Action, insisting that they were "disrupting the peace and justice by bribing various community elders and inciting them to rebel against the Islamic administration,” according to a press release. “Furthermore, they have been surveying and sign-posting some of the most vital and sensitive areas under the control of the Mujahideen."

In March of 2010, al-Shabaab banned UN World Food Programme (WFP) operations in Somalia. Their logic was that the aid deliveries damaged local farmers by preventing them from selling their crops at a fair price and that some of the food was past its expiry date. The British government declared al-Shabaab a terrorist group on March 1, 2010.

In August 2010, al-Shabaab banned three Christian aid groups from working in their areas; World Vision, ADRA Adventist Development and Relief Agency and Diakonia. According to al Shabaab: “The aforementioned organizations have been found to be actively propagating Christianity in this Muslim country.” Later Horn Relief was also banned.

Al-Shabaab insisted that the organizations were “acting as missionaries under the guise of humanitarian work”, and had “corrupted ideologies in order to taint the pure creed of the Muslims in Somalia”.

“Along with their missionary work, the proliferation of corruption and indecency has become prevalent as a result of their presence,” the group added.

There is some logic in some of the bans and others follow a familiar orthodox whabbaist approach of simply banning things that seem Western or different. Their form of arbitration and justice is sometimes appreciated but, heavy handed in Somalia.

Other al-Shabaab bans in addition to traditional sharia include: selling khat;

mixed sexes handshaking, walking together or chatting in public;

music containing lyrics;

BBC news broadcasts;


ringtones on phones;

making animal sacrifices to the dead;

science and english in school;


dancing at weddings;

folk dances;

playing or watching football;


school bells (because they sound like church bells);

music on the radio to introduce segments.

Although al-Shabaab's spokesperson spoke with conviction, he did not reveal that the need for aid has caused serious problems within the al-Shabaab leadership.

Muktar Abdirahman Godane is an Isaaq from Hargeisa who opposes the influx of aid. His logic is that the influx of outsiders will provide actionable intelligence for air strikes.

Sheikh Muktar Robow “Abu-Mansoor” is Rahanweyn from Baidoa, whose clan is amongst those most directly affected. Robow was able to convince Godane to allow in emergency air shipments by UNICEF to Baidoa. According to the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Godane commandeered the shipment and confiscated the food and medicine. Robow then sent his men to liberate the goods, forcing Abu-Mansoor Al-Ameriki to set up negotiatiosn that lasted two days. The result was that Sheikh Muktar removed his group to the west of the Baidoa and “Godane” decamped to the opposite side.

However, UNICEF says this version of events is untrue. According to the agency, the aid was picked up by its local staff, taken to its warehouses, and then distributed among the community.

If the Ethiopian version of events is true, it is not the first time fault lines have appeared, and it won't be the last. But al-Shabaab is risking what little popular support it has and literally forcing some villages to threaten them with violence if they do not allow the aid to arrive.

Jihadis, Pirates, Rogue Nations and Mercenaries All Featured in Document
Private Security Protecting Water Delivery in Puntland
Private Security Protecting Water Delivery in Puntland

The UN Security Council has just released a 417 page report from the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea. The voluminous report details some of the activities conducted by various groups that are considered to be violating the UN arms embargo. The report does its best to provide proof that the usual suspects like al-Shabaab, SSC Army and pirates are busy turning Somalia into a charnel house.

The lead author of this document is long-time Canadian expat and Somaliland booster, Matt Bryden. Like any Matt Bryden report, Somaliland once again gets a complete pass. As usual Somaliland's border rival Puntland gets beaten up with innuendo and there is a new evil actor introduced: Private Security Companies. That is surprising considering the pummeling the UN aid effort is getting trying to bring in relief.

This UN report seems to take an unusual interest in endorsing the success of Somaliland (where its headquarters were bombed a few years back) while ignoring the struggle of other regions to distance themselves from the Mogadishu/Nairobi UN efforts to run a dysfunctional central government. For that reason alone, it should be brought into question why Somaliland's impressive army is not one of the focal points of this report.

As a former military member who served in the region, speaks Somali, and reportedly holds a Somaliland passport, Bryden is tasked with preparing the report in conjunction with a maritime, finance and armed group expert. Their efforts are commendable but their methodology deeply questionable considering his close ties to Somaliland, including a former marriage to a Somalilander. Considering the major impact a UN freeze on travel and finance can have, the kangaroo court tactics, using witnesses...where possible, multiple sources...where possible and "continuously factoring in the expertise and judgement of... relevant experts" of the group to render judgement.

This should make any hint of bias even more suspect when the actual evidence and conclusions are not specifically credited to the person who made them and the head of the group has clear affiliation to a yet-to-be-recognized-by UN or anyone region. This does not minimize Somaliland's impressive gains; it means that a non-nation with 16,000 troops, over 100 tanks, dozens of surface-to-air missiles and an uncomfortable aggressive war on its western flank should be held to a little more scrutiny.

The facts used to skewer al-Shabaab and Ertirea are delivered with much better assurance than the amateurish allegations used to impune Puntland's stillborn attempt to quell piracy, or President's Sharif's attempts to have a personal protection detail. Simply put, Bryden and his crew rely on false information and sleight of hand to make their case up north while doing a much better job of condemning terrorists and their backers. There is no proof offered that Puntland has used any of its force against its neighbor (other than a singular media comment by the President's gregarious son) and no proof that the anti-piracy force violated any UN embargos. Our investigation has showed that the Puntland Marine Force is actually used to guard water and food convoys from theft using government-supplied weapons and Puntland security force support. Not quite the picture the UN paints in this report.

The reader must wade through what sometimes reads like an anonymous scandal and gossip sheet due to the group's reliance on diaspora who have fled a subject region, using anonymous sources or bizarre letters from non-existent authorities until they get to page 315 where the group gets down to actually talking about acts of obstruction against humanitarian assistance.

Even then there is a lip-smacking finale as Bryden and crew deliver the 64 page smack down on Eritrea until the end of their report. The UN Monitoring group in their previous report had little success in actually pinning the al-Shabaab tail on the Eritrean donkey, but this time they must be doing high fives and belly bumps back in Nairobi. Their work on nailing al-Shabaab as arms violators is only defeated by their complete inability to actually do anything about it. And once again anyone who spends more than a few hours in Mogadishu does not need to read this report to know that there are some of the most flagrant arms embargo and human rights violations occurring.

Where this report defies logic is its need to cleverly sandwich for profit western security agencies in between mass murderers and regional sponsors of terror. My 2006 book Licensed to Kill, Hired Guns in the War on Terror is the result of three years with a wide spectrum of security contractors and Somalia Report recently spent time with some of the groups mentioned in this report. Somalia Report published the results of one trip which delivered water and aid to North and Central Somalia. Our first hand, unfettered reporting does not reflect some of the serious allegations made by anonymous sources in the UN report.

What is suspect is the UN's unusual focus on private security companies (and particularly Saracen) as contributors to instability. It may be his need to creatively retell the debacle of Somaliland pirating a chartered plane of supplies (no weapons were ever found) and complete omission of Bryden's accusations that two well-known CBS 60 Minutes journalists were mercenaries being held at the Ambassador Hotel should be examined more closely. Their imprisonment and treatment as a result of his visit should say more about his tactics and creates questions about any fact finding related to this event. Somalia Report previously investigated convincing evidence that clearly showed that Bryden was characterizing the UAE sponsored, Puntland endorsed and indigenous anti-piracy program as a hostile threat to his beloved Somaliand. This may be unfair to Bryden since he works as part of a group but the facts of the case do not match his allegations.

The UN Monitoring group is supposed to provide proof of arms violations by all non UN actors via three resolutions designed to prevent warring factions. The glaring proof of their failure can be seen everyday on the streets of Mogadishu. It is also deeply suspect that the activities of Somaliland (as a unrecognized state) in the disputed region of SSC seem to be purely the fault of Puntland and their evil mercenaries. If the reader didn't know better it would appear that the seven, mostly glowing mentions of Somaliland were designed to nominate the region for sainthood.

By contrast, the eight mentions of Puntland are clearly meant to cast deep suspicion on their motives. The February 2011 fighting between SSC and Somaliland seems to be "OK". The authors seem to enjoy putting quotes around terms and using florid languages to describe Saracen as an "opaque web" even though the UN was fully briefed by the organization. The report says "the activities of private security companies represent an accelerating and often disturbing trend" while neglecting to inform readers that the UN is guarded by Tim Spicer's Aegis, the man who wrote an entire book about the joys of being a mercenary, but he should be commended for his corporate security work in Mogadishu...guarding the UN.

This does not mean that the hiring of foreign security companies is automatically bad or good it just means in an environment like Mogadishu the last group that deserves lambasting would be the men and women who train, protect, supply, oversee and manage the peace process. It is still not politically correct to actually defend security contractors but it is this controversial industry that delivers the ransoms, guards the NGOs, defuses the IEDs, flies out the wounded, provides the intelligence, trains the locals and offers some framework within the shattered land of Somalia.

In a gruesome world of starving children, nihilistic jihadis and aid denied to desperate Somalis because of lack of security, the UN Monitoring Group chose to waste its time demonizing the very groups that they use, hire and need to function in Somalia.

The full report can be downloaded here and as usual we look forward to your insights and opinions.

UN Report Determines AMISOM Provides Up To 50% Of Ammo Sold in One Market Alone
Ugandan soldier shops at small store near front lines
Ugandan soldier shops at small store near front lines
Any resident of, or visitor to, Mogadishu can only marvel at the extraordinary amount of ordnance that is fired by African Union peacekeeping (AMISOM) and Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces. In the battle against al-Shabaab, Ugandans, Burundians and Somalis not only have plenty of light and heavy weapons, but fire them day and night into the crowded city of Mogadishu with cinematic abandon.

What is more surprising is that the volume of firepower that cash strapped al-Shabaab fires back. It is not unusual to hear dozens of RPGs and rockets and thousands of bullets firing in barrel-melting full auto mode for hours. A more analytic view would wonder where exactly the supposedly cash strapped al Shabaab is getting the impressive amount of semi automatic, heavy machine gun, anti aircraft, 50 calibre, RPGs and mortars that keep the war going.

Both sides use the same Soviet-designed weapons and the ammunition. The difference is that AMISOM has an established supply line while Shabaab has to be more creative in getting weapons and supplies. Casual observers would be correct in assuming that ammunition provided by the shipload for AMISOM would work perfectly well for al-Shabaab especially if provided at deep discount prices, with no charge for freight courtesy of Uncle Sam.

To get the money to buy ammo they simply tax the locals...and the massive aid organizations. The UN Report details how Al Shabaab demands $10,000 from aid groups as starter fee, another $10,000 for registration and $6000 every 6 months. In addition the terrorist organization charges a tax of 20% of estimated goods and 10% of the value of the vehicles. Aid organizations funding terrorist groups is an unpleasant reality of Mogadishu. So is the reality of AMISOM and TFG soldiers selling their weapons and ammunition for that tainted money.

UN Report Does Not Reveal Full Extent of Problem

The recent UN report on violators of the arms embargo mentions the insurgent use of AMISOM weaponry by examining the weapons and ammunitions for sale in Bakaara market. The markings are a match. But the UN tries to soft pedal the link by insisting that rebel-held airstrips have been visited by mysterious Russian cargo planes supposedly carrying weapons. There is little conclusive proof that this is the source of al-Shabaab's firepower. They do finger a Hargeisa, Somaliland based arms dealer as shopping around three decade old Surface to Air Missiles that the militants uses for photo posing purposes only.

They also ping 33 US military and US contractor flights that landed in Mogadishu ranging from cargo planes to a small twin engine aircraft like a Beechcraft Huron to large cargo planes. Since the Beechcraft had no tail number it most likely was an ELINT platform used to track mobile phones and communications of terrorists. But there is no confusion that the large US military cargo planes landing at Mogadishu are clearly bringing something heavy and large on a regular basis. But it would be doubtful that the US support of "the security apparatus" as the UN describes it, would keep the conflict going.

There are many more cargo aircraft and ships that supply the AMISOM effort but since this is the legal avenue of bringing weapons in it is not under scrutiny. Nor does AMISOM have any official interest in supplying al Shabaab. So with the concrete proof that ammunition and weapons supplied by the US to Uganda and therefore AMISOM where is the obvious investigation>

The argument could be made that the UN has a conflict of interest in assigning its own people to investigate arms smuggling when it is actually the UN process that allows the unimpeded flow of weapons to al-Shabaab.

The UN Is an interesting institution. There is no higher authority to appeal to when dealing with the UN. No editor to write stern letters to. No backroom deal makers to smooth over problems. So pointing out the clearly convenient logic of the reporting body. The result of this flawed report is that the UN is not set up to investigate its own contribution to the conflict. the group's mandate was extended for another year two days before it was expected to be disbanded.

The deliberately downplayed role of AMISOM as the main supplier of ammunition and weapons to al-Shabaab needs to be highlighted and not buried in this report. Thankfully non-UN experts like Pieter D Wezeman of SIPRI details this problem without a conflict of interest. Wezeman clearly points out that this same UN Arms Monitoring group led by the same person pointed out as far back as 2008 that the TFG was the source of 80% of all insurgent weapons, ammunition and supplies. It should be asked why this is not a key part of the report. The UN does a good shop of showing that al Shabaab can generate cash from khat, piracy, charcoal and cartel like business deals. Where does that cash go? And from where to the weapons come that kill Somalis?

The concept that secret planes fly in weapons is not supported with proof. So the UN Monitoring Group tried to pawn off this serious allegation on the Ethiopian forces who had occupied the capital but provided no proof that their weapons were left behind. This year the report correctly identifies Eritrea as a major supporter of al-Shabaab but does not go into Belarus, Bulgaria, and France as being the original suppliers of weapons to Eritrea. Before 2005 it was Russia. In 2005 Yemen did provide "personal weapons" to the TFG while Ethiopia and Uganda are major suppliers of light and medium weapons to the US backed government. Ammunition is something that is consumed and therefore the current cacophony in Mogadishu and beyond must be from recent suppliers.

In May of 2009 the US gave $2 million to the TFG to buy weapons locally without much concern about where they would come from. This logically created a mini boom for weapons importers in Mogadishu. AMISOM was just getting set up but Ethiopia was eager to arm anti rebel forces. With covert U.S. funds Ethiopia set up ASWJ in 2008 and they poured weapons into the Sufi group to fight al Shabaab. Any minor clan who could scrape up a militia could expect $250 a man, assault weapons, AKs, RPG and training. The only problem is that this new military force was a clear violation of the UN arms embargo. ASWJ insisted they actually bought their own weapons but the sheer volume of weaponry and Ethiopian support indicated otherwise. A prominent militia leader approached Somalia Report discussing manpower and funding and insisting not to worry about the weapons because they came by the plane load courtesy of Ethiopia the only hard part was getting the 250 a month his gunmen needed to operate in the field.

To cover this embarrassment of violent riches, the TFG quickly signed a power sharing agreement with the ASWJ in 2010 and requested Ethiopia to arm them. Even the training programs provided by nations has funneled trained fighters into al-Shabaab as the TFG neglects to pay the newly trained recruits.

Also beginning in 2009 and until March 2010, the US delivered 94 tonnes of assault weapons, machine guns, mortars and ammunition using Uganda as a cutout. The weapons were "donated" by Uganda and then Uganda was reimbursed for them by the US. Covert funding of Ethiopia and their proxy ASWJ delivered unknown amounts of the ever popular AK and PKM machine guns. The heavy bandoliers of machine gun ammo quickly became the "in" fashion statement for both rebel and government forces.

With Friends Like Ethiopia, Who Needs Enemies?

If Ethiopia hopes to get off lightly they shouldn't. The United States provided $3 million in military support in 2010 via Foreign Military Financing programme. It is not known how much covert support Ethiopia gets but a quick look at the ASWJ militia's weapons and their Ethiopians forward trainers is enough even for the UN to figure out what is going on. The SIPRI report also details tens of millions in weapons sold to Ethiopia by Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Hungary and Romania between 2004 and 2008. In other words if the UN is baffled as to who is arming al-Shabaab they only need contact their own member states for a full accounting of their weapons. This years' coverage of the AMISOM violation is not top of the list but buried back in the Annexes. Annex 5 on page 230 correctly points out that the major supplier of ammunition to the terrorist group is the very UN group assembled to defeat it. Once again the United States of America stands head and shoulders above all other arms importers into Somalia. By the end of 2009 the U.S. openly admitted that it had supplied $135 million in weapons, armored vehicles, logistical support, supplies and training for AMISOM.

That is not a bad thing since the idea was to prop up the TFG and allow AMISOM to protect the government and ensure free flow of relief. The problem is that these weapons have not only been found in the hands of al Shabaab but in the hands of rebels in unrelated conflicts around central Africa. It is important to remember that the four year old AMISOM mission is on the surface an African Union construct but must go hat in hand to the United Nations, the United States and the European Union for actual funding. They then hire troops from Uganda and Burundi to defend the U.S and UN created TFG.

It is no secret that AMISOM is constantly underfunded and undermanned. Its troops live and fight in deplorable conditions in Mogadishu. It is not inherently a corrupt organization. Ugandan soldiers are paid $750 a month but Uganda keeps $200 of that. The troops go unpaid for months at a time. Even when the soldiers are paid their salaries are not paid directly to the soldiers but to a central fund in Kampala or Bujumbura and then deposited into a local bank account so the families can use the money.

A Booming Black Economy

With the lack of commercial activity in AMISOM held Mogadishu, the difficulty of money transfer to and even limited shopping opportunities for embattled AMISOM troops you would think that makes sense to keep their money at home. Except that the AMISOM payment debacle leaves thousands of troops surrounded by tons of weapons with no way to buy even "small small" things like personal items, sweets or mobile phone recharges to call home.

The resultant black market in weapons and ordnance is obvious as is the mystery why the soldiers consume so much ammunition so they can order replenishment under the guise of exhausting their current supplies. Somalia Report spent time at the front lines and confirmed the low standards of their living conditions and funding. AMISOM soldiers put up a brave face but their daily rations and grim existence is brightened only by the occasional soda, snack or comfort sold to the Ugandans and Burundians by enterprising Somali women. That money comes from sale of ammunition to intermediaries who then sell it to al Shabaab.

How damning is the proof that the UN and the US is funding and arming al Shabaab?

The UN's own records confirm this. In April of 2011 the UN determined that 90% of all 12.7 x 108mm ammunition was from an AMISOM stock created in 2010. An RPG captured from al Shabaab was analyzed and determined to have been delivered by DynCorp to the Ministry of Defense in Uganda. The contract was to supply weapons and ammunition to the Ugandan Forces in Mogadishu.

AMISOM and TFG do not record serial numbers of weapons or ammunition they transfer and although lip service is given to the attempts of AMISOM to prevent sales of its deadly supplies to the rebels. Little to no effort is being taken to stop it. Soldiers as in all wars quickly learn ways to get around even the most diligent checks and balances.

The bottom line is that even with their conflict of interest, the UN estimates that one third to a half of all ammunition supplied by the United States to AMISOM ends up in the hands of al-Shabaab.

Now read the resolution that was created as a result of this 417 page report and look for any mention of al-Shabaab's major arms supplier.

Security Council 6596th Meeting (PM)


Resolution 2002 (2011) Targets Recruiters of Child Soldiers, Among Others

The Security Council today tightened its sanctions regime on Somalia and Eritrea to include individuals and entities identified as political or military leaders recruiting or using child soldiers in Somalia’s armed conflicts, and targeting civilians or committing attacks against schools and hospitals in the conflict-torn Horn of Africa country.

Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2002 (2011), by which it also extended for 12 months the mandate of the expert group monitoring implementation of its sanctions on Somalia and Eritrea, while expanding the scope of the panel’s area of concern.

The resolution also considered that all actions threatening the peace and security of Somalia, as well as those that threatened the 2008 Djibouti Agreement, could include, but were not limited to, misappropriation of financial resources and thereby undermining the ability of the Transitional Federal Institutions to fulfil their obligations in delivering services within the framework of that accord.

Calling on the Transitional Federal Government to consider banning all trade by large merchant vessels with ports controlled by Al-Shabaab, the resolution said that the Council considered all non-local commerce via such ports to constitute financial support for a designated entity, and posed a threat to Somalia’s peace, stability and security. As such, individuals and entities engaged in such commerce may be subject to the targeted measures established by resolution 1844 (2008), including an arms embargo, a travel ban and a freeze on assets.

Also by the text, the Council requested the Monitoring Group, among other duties, to investigate any seaport operations in Somalia that may generate revenue for Al-Shabaab, an entity designated by the Sanctions Committee as meeting the listing criteria in resolution 1844 (2008), as well as all activities, including in the financial, maritime and other sectors, generating revenues used to violate the arms embargoes on Somalia and Eritrea.

The Council requested the Monitoring Group to investigate any means of transport, routes, seaports, airports and other facilities used in connection with violations of those embargoes, and to assist in identifying areas where the capacities of neighbouring States could be strengthened to facilitate the implementation of the measures. Further by the text, the Group would submit to the Council two final reports, one focusing on Somalia and the other on Eritrea, covering all the above tasks, no later than 15 days prior to the termination of the Monitoring Group’s mandate.

By other terms of the resolution, the Council reiterated its serious concern over the worsening humanitarian situation in Somalia, and the impact of the current drought and famine. It strongly condemned the targeting and obstruction of relief-aid delivery by armed groups, and demanded that all parties ensure full, safe and unhindered access for the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance to persons in need across Somalia.

The meeting began at 5:33 p.m. and ended at 5:35 p.m.

Resolution 2002

The full text of resolution 2002(2011) reads as follows:

“The Security Council,

“Reaffirming its previous resolutions and the statements of its President concerning the situation in Somalia, and concerning Eritrea, in particular resolution 733 (1992), which established an embargo on all delivery of weapons and military equipment to Somalia (hereinafter referred to as the “Somalia arms embargo”), resolution 1519 (2003), resolution 1558 (2004), resolution 1587 (2005), resolution 1630 (2005), resolution 1676 (2006), resolution 1724 (2006), resolution 1744 (2007), resolution 1766 (2007), resolution 1772 (2007), resolution 1801 (2008), resolution 1811 (2008), resolution 1844 (2008), resolution 1853 (2008), resolution 1862 (2009,) resolution 1907 (2009), resolution 1916 (2010), and resolution 1972 (2011),

“Recalling that, as set out in its resolutions 1744 (2007) and 1772 (2007), the arms embargo on Somalia does not apply to (a) weapons and military equipment, technical training and assistance intended solely for support of or use by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and (b) supplies and technical assistance by States intended solely for the purpose of helping develop security sector institutions, consistent with the political process set out in those resolutions and in the absence of a negative decision by the Committee established pursuant to resolution 751 (1992), the mandate of which was expanded pursuant to resolution 1907 (2009) (hereinafter referred to as “the Committee”), within five working days of receiving an advance notification of such supplies or assistance on a case-by-case basis,

“Recalling its resolutions 1612 (2005), 1882 (2009) and 1998 (2011) on children and armed conflict, resolutions 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009) and 1960 (2010) on women, peace and security, and resolutions 1265 (1999), 1296 (2000), 1325 (2000), 1612 (2005), 1674 (2006), 1738 (2006), 1820 (2008), 1882 (2009), 1888 (2009) and 1889 (2009) on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts,

“Reaffirming its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea respectively,

“Reaffirming that the Djibouti Peace Agreement and the Peace Process represent the basis for a resolution of the conflict in Somalia, and reiterating its commitment to a comprehensive and lasting settlement of the situation in Somalia based on the Transitional Federal Charter (TFC), and reiterating the urgent need for all Somali leaders to take tangible steps to continue political dialogue,

“Taking note of the report of the Monitoring Group dated 18 July 2011 (S/2011/433) submitted pursuant to paragraph 6 (k) of resolution 1916 (2010) and the observations and recommendations contained therein,

“Condemning flows of weapons and ammunition supplies to and through Somalia and Eritrea in violation of the Somalia arms embargo and the Eritrea arms embargo established pursuant to resolution 1907 (2009) (hereinafter referred to as the “Eritrea arms embargo”), as a serious threat towards peace and stability in the region,

“Calling upon all Member States, in particular those in the region, to refrain from any action in contravention of the Somalia and Eritrea arms embargoes, and to take all necessary steps to hold violators accountable,

“Reaffirming the importance of enhancing the monitoring of the Somalia and Eritrea arms embargoes through persistent and vigilant investigation into the violations, bearing in mind that strict enforcement of the arms embargoes will improve the overall security situation in the region,

“Expressing concern at acts of intimidation against the Monitoring Group and interference with the Monitoring Group’s work,

“Reiterating its serious concern about the worsening humanitarian situation in Somalia, and the impact of the current drought and famine, strongly condemning the targeting and obstruction of the delivery of humanitarian aid by armed groups in Somalia, which has prevented the delivery of such aid in some areas and deploring the repeated attacks on humanitarian personnel,

“Reiterating its condemnation in the strongest terms of all acts of violence, abuses and violations, including sexual and gender-based violence, committed against civilians, including children, in violation of applicable international law, stressing that the perpetrators must be brought to justice, recalling all its relevant resolutions on women, peace and security, on children and armed conflict, and on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts, and considering therefore that the existing designation criteria for targeted measures under resolution 1844 (2008) need to be reaffirmed and further strengthened,

“Reaffirming the need for both the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) and donors to be mutually accountable and transparent in the allocation of financial resources,

“Calling for the end of the misappropriation of financial funds which undermine the ability of local authorities to deliver services in Somalia,

“Determining that the situation in Somalia, Eritrea’s actions undermining peace and reconciliation in Somalia, as well as the dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea continue to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,

“Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

“1. Decides that the measures in paragraphs 1, 3, and 7 of resolution 1844 (2008) shall apply to individuals, and that the provisions of paragraphs 3 and 7 of that resolution shall apply to entities, designated by the Committee:

(a) as engaging in or providing support for acts that threaten the peace, security or stability of Somalia, including acts that threaten the Djibouti Agreement of 18 August 2008 or the political process, or threaten the TFIs or AMISOM by force;

(b) as having acted in violation of the general and complete arms embargo reaffirmed in paragraph 6 of resolution 1844 (2008);

(c) as obstructing the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Somalia, or access to, or distribution of, humanitarian assistance in Somalia;

(d) as being political or military leaders recruiting or using children in armed conflicts in Somalia in violation of applicable international law;

(e) as being responsible for violations of applicable international law in Somalia involving the targeting of civilians including children and women in situations of armed conflict, including killing and maiming, sexual and gender-based violence, attacks on schools and hospitals and abduction and forced displacement;

“2. Considers that acts under paragraph 1 (a) above may include, but are not limited to, the misappropriation of financial resources which undermines the Transitional Federal Institutions’ ability to fulfil their obligations in delivering services within the framework of the Djibouti Agreement;

“3. Considers that all non-local commerce via Al-Shabaab controlled ports, that constitutes financial support for a designated entity, poses a threat to the peace, stability, and security of Somalia, and thereby individuals and entities engaged in such commerce may be designated by the Committee and made subject to the targeted measures established by resolution 1844 (2008);

“4. Calls upon the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to consider banning all trade by large merchant vessels with Al-Shabaab controlled ports;

“5. Demands that all parties ensure full, safe and unhindered access for the timely delivery of humanitarian aid to persons in need of assistance across Somalia, underlines its grave concern at the worsening humanitarian situation in Somalia, urges all parties and armed groups to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian personnel and supplies, and expresses its readiness to apply targeted sanctions against such individuals and entities if they meet the listing criteria set out in paragraph 1 (c) above;

“6. Decides to extend the mandate of the Monitoring Group referred to in paragraph 3 of resolution 1558 (2004), extended by paragraph 6 of resolution 1916, and requests the Secretary-General to take the necessary administrative measures as expeditiously as possible to re-establish the Monitoring Group for a period of 12 months from the date of this resolution, consisting of eight experts, drawing, as appropriate, on the expertise of the members of the Monitoring Group established pursuant to resolution 1916 (2010), and consistent with resolution 1907 (2009), in order to fulfil its expanded mandate, this mandate being as follows:

(a) to assist the Committee in monitoring the implementation of the measures imposed in paragraph 1, 3, and 7 of 1844 (2008), including by reporting any information on violations; to include in its reports to the Committee any information relevant to the potential designation of the individuals and entities described in paragraph 1 above;

(b) to assist the Committee in compiling narrative summaries, referred to in paragraph 14 of resolution 1844 (2008) of individuals and entities designated pursuant to paragraph 1 above;

(c) to investigate any seaport operations in Somalia that may generate revenue for Al-Shabaab, an entity designated by the Committee for meeting the listing criteria in resolution 1844 (2008);

(d) to continue the tasks outlined in paragraphs 3(a) to (c) of resolution 1587 (2005), paragraphs 23 (a) to (c) of resolution 1844 (2008), and paragraphs 19 (a) to (d) of resolution 1907 (2009);

(e) to investigate, in coordination with relevant international agencies, all activities, including in the financial, maritime and other sectors, which generate revenues used to commit violations of the Somalia and Eritrea arms embargoes;

(f) to investigate any means of transport, routes, seaports, airports and other facilities used in connection with violations of the Somalia and Eritrea arms embargoes;

(g) to continue refining and updating information on the draft list of those individuals and entities that engage in acts described in paragraph 1 above, inside and outside Somalia, and their active supporters, for possible future measures by the Council, and to present such information to the Committee as and when the Committee deems appropriate;

(h) to compile a draft list of those individuals and entities that engage in acts described in paragraphs 15 (a)-(e) of resolution 1907 (2009) inside and outside Eritrea, and their active supporters, for possible future measures by the Council, and to present such information to the Committee as and when the Committee deems appropriate;

(i) to continue making recommendations based on its investigations, on the previous reports of the Panel of Experts (S/2003/223 and S/2003/1035) appointed pursuant to resolutions 1425 (2002) and 1474 (2003), and on the previous reports of the Monitoring Group (S/2004/604, S/2005/153, S/2005/625, S/2006/229, S/2006/913, S/2007/436, S/2008/274, S/2008/769 and S/2010/91) appointed pursuant to resolutions 1519 (2003), 1558 (2004), 1587 (2005), 1630 (2005), 1676 (2006), 1724 (2006), 1766 (2007), 1811 (2008) 1853 (2008) and 1916 (2010);

(j) to work closely with the Committee on specific recommendations for additional measures to improve overall compliance with the Somalia and Eritrea arms embargoes, as well as the measures imposed in paragraphs 1, 3 and 7 of resolution 1844 (2008), and paragraphs 5, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 13 of resolution 1907 (2009) concerning Eritrea;

(k) to assist in identifying areas where the capacities of States in the region can be strengthened to facilitate the implementation of the Somalia and Eritrea arms embargoes, as well as the measures imposed in paragraphs 1, 3 and 7 of resolution 1844 (2008), and paragraphs 5, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 13 of resolution 1907 (2009) concerning Eritrea;

(l) to provide to the Council, through the Committee, a midterm briefing within six months of its establishment, and to submit progress reports to the Committee on a monthly basis;

(m) to submit, for the Security Council’s consideration, through the Committee, two final reports; one focusing on Somalia, the other on Eritrea, covering all the tasks set out above, no later than 15 days prior to the termination of the Monitoring Group’s mandate;

“7. Further requests the Secretary-General to make the necessary financial arrangements to support the work of the Monitoring Group;

“8. Requests the Committee, in accordance with its mandate and in consultation with the Monitoring Group and other relevant United Nations entities, to consider the recommendations in the reports of the Monitoring Group and recommend to the Council ways to improve implementation of and compliance with the Somalia and Eritrea arms embargoes as well as implementation of the targeted measures imposed by paragraphs 1, 3, and 7 of resolution 1844 (2008) and paragraphs 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 13 of resolution 1907 (2009), in response to continuing violations;

“9. Decides that for a period of 12 months from the date of this resolution, and without prejudice to humanitarian assistance programmes conducted elsewhere, the obligations placed on Member States in paragraph 3 of resolution 1844 (2008) shall not apply to the payment of funds, other financial assets or economic resources necessary to ensure the timely delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance in Somalia, by the United Nations, its specialized agencies or programmes, humanitarian organizations having observer status with the United Nations General Assembly that provide humanitarian assistance, and their implementing partners, including bilaterally or multilaterally funded NGOs participating in the UN Consolidated Appeal for Somalia;

“10. Urges all parties and all States, including Eritrea, other States in the region, and the TFG, as well as international, regional and subregional organizations, ensure cooperation with the Monitoring Group, and ensure the safety of the members of the Monitoring Group, and unhindered access, in particular to persons, documents and sites the Monitoring Group deems relevant to the execution of its mandate;

“11. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”